In a brief interview today on CBS This Morning, General Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State under George W. Bush, has confirmed his endorsement of the Obama/Biden ticket for reelection.
General Powell, a widely respected Republican icon—often courted by his party to himself enter the political arena—made headline news in 2008 when he openly broke from his party and endorsed Obama in 2008 (You Tube Video). In the more lengthy interview on NBC’s Meet The Press in 2008, Powell detailed his rationale for choosing Barack Obama over his good friend and fellow Republican, Senator John McCain, calling Obama a “transformational” figure in American politics.
In a thinly veiled indictment of his own party, Powell described himself thus, “I’m a Republican of a more moderate mold…dying breed.” It has been speculated that Powell might sit out the race in 2012, but he has now put those thoughts to rest.
Powell, often mentioned as a possible Republican presidential or vice presidential candidate, has recently been quite critical of Mitt Romney. He has been focused on foreign policy issues in particular, relative to the Neo-conservative advisors surrounding Romney. As reported in a May article in The New York Times…reporting on an interview on the popular MSNBC show, Morning Joe (Video):
Mr. Powell noted that Mr. Romney recently said that Russia was the “No. 1 geopolitical foe” of the United States.
“Well, c’mon Mitt, think. It isn’t the case,” Mr. Powell said. “I don’t know whether Mitt really feels that.”
Asked whether he thought Mr. Romney’s advisers told him to say that, Mr. Powell said: “I don’t know. You ask him.”
Mr. Powell said Mr. Romney’s comment had been “catching a lot of heck from the regular G.O.P. foreign affairs community.”
“We’re kind of taken aback by it,” he said. “Look at the world. There is no pure competitor to the United States of America.”
Earlier in the interview, Mr. Powell described Mr. Romney’s foreign policy advisers as “quite far to the right.’
Gen. Powell has been more moderate in his views as a Republican on a whole host of issues, such as the economy, taxes, education and social issues like gays in the military and gay marriage. Powell has also been unafraid to buck the criticism of right-wing commentators, like bloviating Rush Limbaugh, who has repeatedly said that Powell’s endorsement in 2008 was based on racial bias for the President in that Powell is also an African-American. Powell—for his part—has retained his dignity and wide popularity with the American people, remaining above the fray and refusing to get down in the gutter with racists like Limbaugh.
In a brief report in this morning’s issue of New York’s Daily News, Powell also stressed strides the President has made in improving the economy, while fulfilling his promise the end the Iraq War…
Speaking of Obama, Powell said the president got the United States out of Iraq and has laid out a plan for leaving Afghanistan “and didn’t get us into any new wars.” He praises Obama’s economic performance, saying that while difficult choices are ahead on taxes, spending and budgetary policies, “steadily, I think we’ve begun to come out of the dive and we’re gaining attitude.”
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